Like millions of others, the Corvid -19 pandemic has changed my plans and arrangements. Though in light of the suffering and hardships that the pandemic has brought to so many lives, any changes to my plans and diary are inconsequential. However, I can’t help my thoughts dwelling on where I should have been today: Coventry Cathedral. I was very much looking forward to being back in Coventry and to the privilege of taking the midday Service of Reconciliation, followed by presiding at Holy Communion.
The service of Reconciliation is often held in the ruins of the old cathedral, which is still a consecrated place of worship. The Act of Reconciliation is predicated by the Coventry blitz of November 1940 when 515 Bombers dropped 500 tons high explosive and 30,000 incendiary bombs in a raid that lasted for 12 hours. 2,300 homes were destroyed,41,000 houses badly damaged, 111 of the city’s 180 factories hit, 1000 people seriously injured, and 568 civilians killed. The prayer we use in the service seeks forgiveness – for all of us.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
I’m disappointed not to be in Coventry today, but forever grateful for all the times I have been privileged to minister in that iconic city. The ‘spirit’ of Coventry is captured to well in a local folk-song, ‘November Sky’